May 20, 2021 - News
A new documentary about Des Moines' old movie theaters
Photo courtesy of Mark Heggen

The Varsity Virtual Cinema is offering a free viewing of a documentary about "the boom and disappearances" of DSM’s classic movie houses.

The state of play: "Lost Cinemas of Greater Des Moines" uses archival film and photos of theaters from the early 1900s to present day. It premiered last week at the Varsity and is available for free through May 28.

  • Director Mark Heggen began researching for the 55-minute film about 35 years ago.
  • He discussed some interesting tidbits about area theaters during a Q&A following the film with Varsity Cinema director Ben Godar.
  • One relatable nugget: During the 1918 influenza pandemic, the Amuzu Theater (in the 500 block of East Locust Street) socially distanced and gave masks to customers.

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